Progress is always relative. Whether you’re the founder of a small business or part of a large one, measuring tangible gains and progress made is always going to be a bit tricky, especially when it comes to a question as broad and qualitative as “how have my LGBT outreach efforts worked?” There’s no one way to answer. But, by taking the question apart a bit, and applying its specific nuances to your business model – you can set your own terms of growth and gauge their effectiveness.
What is an immediate goal you might have for your LGBT outreach efforts? Let’s say, for example, you run a club or bar and decide to host a night specifically catering to the LGBT community. The first step is to find the base level of business taking place on that particular night. If you are choosing a Tuesday night to have a Lesbian Ladies Night then make sure you have data from previous Tuesday nights to have a starting off point. Now, when you take the step to host the first Lesbian Ladies Night and you see how much money you made that evening, you have something to compare it to. This will start you off on the right foot in determining a direct and quantitative way of measuring how successful your LGBT related marketing has been!
Such a strategy isn’t limited to just public venues, of course. Figure out direct ways to measure profits, public interest, and other quantitative variables that will help you to figure out if you’re on the right track or not. Just like a doctor or scientist, methodologies will be critical in understanding how to grow your business. For example, one way I would measure the success rate of my marketing efforts to the LGBT community, would be to determine how many new clients I’ve taken on as a direct result of my networking involvement with my local LGBT chamber of commerce. This could be by members directly from themselves or via word of mouth.
Don’t set yourself up for failure! In examining the marketing models of bigger or different types of businesses, it can be easy to lose a sense of perspective and want to see the LGBT community as a panacea to spur tremendous growth. Unfortunately, no one community or event can singlehandedly trigger instant success – unless that event happens to involve discovering a million barrels of oil. Using the bar/club as a metaphor again, the owner of a venue looking to cater to the LGBT community could set a monthly percentage increase of patrons during LGBT nights as a way of measuring how much their business has grown. For example your goal is to see a 15% increase in profit from bar sales on the Tuesday, Lesbian Ladies Night. The more you continue with your LGBT specific program the more you’ll be able to measure, such as a change in percentage over a 3 month period of time, or how many men on average are attending the ladies nights.
What is your long-term marketing plan? Are you looking for a short-term financial boost, or long-term and sustainable growth for your business? Set a timeframe not just for analyzing week to week or month to month growth, but for specific goals you want to reach before a set amount of time is up. When you don’t have a time frame and concrete goals in mind, there isn’t much urgency to either grow or to get any of the things previously outlined done. Set goals for yourself to stay motivated, ambitious, and relevant to your business’s needs. If you need help with this the best place to start is by setting SMART goals. For more information on this you can read this post; http://jenntgrace.com/smart-goals/ for ideas on how to set solid goals.
Going back to what originally spurred these articles, while the Supreme Court ruling is huge, there are still other LGBT victories to be had. And the LGBT community and allies have already set short-term and long-term goals for themselves, strategies for working together on a national scale, and ways to reach out and communicate their goals to the general public. As somebody who wants to market to the LGBT community, much can be learned from the strategies and methods of the LGBT community nationwide, chief among these are being organized, being diligent, and never giving up. Even if the scales are much different, the goals between LGBT friendly businesses and communities are the same; to improve the lives of LGBT peoples nationwide, and to ensure long-term and meaningful equality for all.
Looking for the other parts of this series? Catch up on them here.Marriage Equality is HERE: What does your marketing say about your company? (A special 6 part series)
- Part 1 of 6: Who am I trying to market to?
- Part 2 of 6: How will I set myself apart?
- Part 3 of 6: How do I take the first step in marketing to the LGBT community?
- Part 4 of 6: What steps will I take in building networks and relationships?
- Part 5 of 6: How do I measure my success and progress along the way?
- Part 6 of 6: Bonus: The good, the bad and the ugly of LGBT Marketing.
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